What went wrong with Twitter – DDoS Explained

Today, Twitter was unavailable early morning due to Distributed Denial of service  attack.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, in a blog post confirmed the attack.

“Attacks such as this are malicious efforts orchestrated to disrupt and make unavailable services such as online banks, credit card payment gateways, and in this case, Twitter for intended customers or users,” he said. “We are defending against this attack now and will continue to update our status blog as we continue to defend and later investigate.”

Though they have  put in fix to prevent similar kinds for future, but a little different can bring Twitter down again.

What is DDoS?

A  distributed denial-of-service attack is an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users. Although the means to carry out, motives for, and targets of a DoS attack may vary, it generally consists of the concerted efforts of a person or persons to prevent an Internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all, temporarily or indefinitely. Perpetrators of DoS attacks typically target sites or services hosted on high-profile web servers such as banks, credit card payment gateways, and even root name-servers. -Wikipedia

A DDoS involves bombarding a Web site or server with more traffic than it can handle, effectively causing online gridlock. Often such attacks are distributed, meaning that multiple computers, usually compromised by malware, send data to the target site in unison.

DDoS attacks often involve sending a flood of external communication requests to the site that at first glance may appear just like legitimate traffic. The intent is to overwhelm the service’s resources to such a degree that it can’t respond to real requests for real users, effectively rendering the site unreachable or so slow to respond as to be impossible to use for some period of time.

Twitter was knocked offline about 9:15 a.m. EDT. Pingdom, a online Site Tracker, indicates that Twitter was offline for about 2.5 hours.

The Twitter availability has been restored. The site’s last significant unplanned downtime occurred on May 30 following a software error.

According to Netcraft, Twitter runs on an Apache Web server hosted by Verio. With the restoration of Twitter, tweets have resumed, many of them about the outage.

Denial of service attacks are relatively common. Earlier this week, Gawker Media sites were hit with a denial of service attack. And last week,AT&T blocked notorious Internet forum 4chan because, it said, the site was undergoing a denial of service attack.

Denial of Service tactics are nothing new. Such malicious takedowns have a history stretching at least as far back as 2000 with DDoS attacks targeting some of the Internet’s most popular sites: Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, and others experienced protracted outages over several days, with an estimated impact of as much as $1.7 billion in lost revenue and damages.

It’s also worth noting that these attacks are extremely difficult to protect against, and tough to handle even once they’re identified. Over time the methodologies have become sophisticated enough to make stemming the floodgates of incoming pings tricky even after a DDoS pattern is discovered.

It’s unclear when or even if we’ll find out who perpetrated today’s DDoS-related downtime, but we certainly hope those responsible are eventually brought to justice.

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